I ran with the Nike run club a couple of times before they closed the store for their major renovation from Niketown to Nike Boston and I didn't run much after that. When I was training for my first half marathon, I decided to check out the run club after their renovation. I've never run with a group, and being a NIKE run club, I was intimidated. Thoughts of everyone being insanely fast and being left behind started running (no pun intended) through my mind. Keep in mind, I just started running a couple of months before this half marathon that I was training for. But anyway, I showed up rocking my new Lunarglide 6s in the new colors they had when they first released the 6s. I remember Molly signed me in and Steve took me to use their restroom. It was a home run session (3 or 5 miles) and I signed up for the 5.
Jarick, our hype man and former run club coordinator, gathered everyone up to get them excited. He did his cheer, took a selfie of the group, and led a stretch. The pacers split the group between the 3 milers and 5 milers. "It's go time," I said to myself, and we took off. The only thing is EVERYONE seemed to be taking off and I was literally left in their dust. I had no idea where I was going, no one in volt was in sight. So I decided to do my own 5 mile run. Being the Ms. Sassy Pants that I am, I ran back to store and called everyone out, telling them about how I was left behind. NOT COOL! Let's just say I didn't go back to run club for a few weeks after that. Eventually, I got up the courage to go back to Nike run club and that decision changed my running career. I started going every week. I saw the same faces and made friends.
One day, I asked Jarick if they were hiring pacers and long story short, he put in a good word for me and I was hired! Being a pacer is definitely one of the coolest jobs ever. My favorite part is getting to run with new runners or runners who have been out of the game for so long and wanting to get their grooves back. I really enjoy hearing their stories as to how or why they started running. I like featuring their stories on my Instagram page, not only to make them feel special, but to let other people know that running is an amazing thing and everyone can do it! I've gotten to meet so many cool people! Nike pacers are pretty much like a family. A lot of us know each other, from New York to DC to LA to London to Rome! I'm honestly getting extra excited right now talking about this.
Now don't get me wrong, just like any other job, it can be stressful at times. You really have to pay attention to details. For example, during track days on Tuesday mornings - exactly, MORNINGS! 6AM - the pacers and Coach Dan have to be at the Reggie Lewis Center to organize and go over the workouts. AM! That means I have to wake up at 5:10AM, make 2 scrambled eggs with one yolk and toast, get in my uniform, brush my teeth, and leave the house by 5:30AM. I often steer the wheel with my knees as I devour my eggs and toast on the way to the track. Kids, please do not try that at home!
Let's talk about when the company sent the Boston pacers to New York to help with their Run with Hart event. Yes, we got to run with Kevin Hart. He's the cutest little thing, he's so short, it's adorable! It was during the New York marathon this past year and one of the best experiences ever! Not only did I get to see my friends in New York, but I got to make new ones from DC, since they came up to help too! I remember we were walking to the hotel and I saw a guy, Gerard, with a big volt swoosh duffel bag that said "RUN" on it, walking with some friends. I asked if they were pacers and sure enough they were the DC squad! We met the next morning at 5AM at Pier 26. It was chilly and windy since we were by the water. The run didn't start until 8:34AM, so we were each assigned a station based on the pace we were going to run. I was at a mid-pace check-in with an iPad to check the runners in. After about 2-3 hours of standing around… in the cold… food vendors and other snacks started rolling up. Then Kevin Hart arrived. He was put in our cool, metallic Nike NYC trailer to chill while runners were arriving. Knox, one of the coaches from NYC, was hyping up the runners until Kevin was ready to come out. Close to 500 runners checked in that day and it was time to "Run with Hart!"
It was just a quick 5K around the Pier and tons and tons of runners (old and new) came out just to show love to Kevin Hart. Everyone was on their way back to where we started except for Nigel, he was not even half way there yet. He was walking solo, so I came up to him, introduced myself, and ran with him. Nigel hadn't run or worked out in a long time. He was a heavier set man and said that his manager forced him to go with her to see Kevin Hart. So instead of walking, I had him run/jog for 1 minute and then we'd walk for 2 minutes. Once we were close to the finish line, everyone was cheering us on and Kevin Hart was at the end waiting for us! The thing that I make sure of when it comes to pacing is that NO ONE GETS LEFT BEHIND EVER EVER EVER! I don't care if runners tell me to go and that I don't have to wait. I refuse to let them run alone!
Anyway, I feel like a #baddiepacing part deux might have to happen. I don't want you to start falling asleep on me while reading my essay! But that's pretty much how I got started pacing and one of the most memorable events. The Boston Marathon is right around the corner. I'll catch you guys then for part two!